Psalm 119 – Aleph

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Scripture Text – Psalm 119

The emphasis in this, the longest psalm, and the basic theme is on the vital ministry and practical use of the Word of God in the inner spiritual life of God’s children. It describes how the Word enables us to grow in holiness and handle the persecutions and pressures that always accompany an obedient walk of faith.

Since we do not know who wrote the psalm, we cannot know for certain when it was written, but our ignorance need not hinder us from learning from this magnificent psalm. Some attribute the psalm to Moses, which is unlikely, and others to a priest or Levite who served in the second temple after the Babylonian captivity. Whoever the author was, he is a good example for us to follow, for he had an intense hunger for holiness and a passionate desire to understand God’s Word in a deeper way. In all but fourteen verses, he addresses his words to the Lord personally, so this psalm is basically a combination of worship, prayer, praise, and admonition.

The Word of God performs many wonderful ministries in the life of the devoted believer. If we delight in His Word, learn it, treasure it within, and obey what it says, the Lord will work in us and through us to accomplish great things for His glory! As you read and study Psalm 119, you will see the writer in a variety of experiences, but His devotion to the Lord and His Word will not change. Circumstances may change, but God and His Word remain the same.

Aleph – Blessed and Blameless

Please read Psalm 119:1-8 for the background to this section.

The opening word of the psalm—“blessed”—is repeated in verse 2 but found nowhere else this psalm. How can we receive God’s blessing? By being blameless before the Lord, obedient to His law, and wholehearted in our relationship to Him. But some of the words that follow—law, precepts, statutes, decrees, commands—have a way of frightening us and almost paralyzing us with despair. When we think of law, we usually think of “cursing” and not “blessing” (see Deuteronomy 27:1–28:68; Joshua 8:30–35), but we must remember that Jesus bore the curse of the law for us on the cross (Galatians 3:10–13).

et the law is a tool

The law is not a weapon in the hands of an angry judge but a tool in the hands of a loving Father, used by the Spirit to make us more like Jesus Christ. The Word enables us to know God better and draw closer to Him. “Blameless” does not mean sinless but wholehearted devotion to the Lord, sincerity, and integrity. Only Jesus Christ was totally blameless in His relationship to God and His law, but because believers are “in Christ,” we are “holy and without blame before Him.” – Ephesians 1:4. His love is in our hearts (Romans 5:5) and His Spirit enables us (Galatians 5:16–26), so His law is not a heavy yoke that crushes us, for “His commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3.

Seeking God means much more than reading the Bible or even studying the Bible. It means hearing God’s voice in His Word, loving Him more, and wanting to delight His heart and please Him. It means wholehearted surrender to him and an unwillingness to permit any rival love to enter. All of the psalms make it clear that this kind of life is not without its dangers and disappointments, for we often fail. The writer of this psalm found himself in the dust and had to cry out for “reviving.” Once he had done that, he confessed his sins, got up and started walking with God again. The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings. As we cultivate an appetite for the Word and feed upon it, we give the Spirit something to work with in our hearts, and He enables us to walk in God’s paths. If we feel ashamed when we read the Word, then we have to stop and find out why and then confess it to the Lord. If we are ashamed because of our disobedience, then we cannot witness to others and we will be ashamed of our hope. Better to be ashamed now and confess it than to be ashamed when we meet the Lord (1 John 2:28).

Praise is good preparation for learning about God and His Word. It is so important that the psalmist repeated it in verses 12 and 171. Our ways may not yet be God’s ways, but as we press on by faith, He will help us and not forsake us (see also Hebrews 13:5). Jacob was far from being a spiritual man when he ran away from home, but the Lord promised not to forsake him, and Jacob believed that promise and became a godly man (Genesis 28:10–22). God even sees fit to be called “the God of Jacob.”

To Be Continued

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Adapted and modified excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Exultant, “Be” Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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